Reading the Racing Post’s after-race comments, I don’t feel so bad about Stolen Moments. It wasn’t a shining run though, looked as if he was indeed too highly weighted though we’ll have to see next time. I will be cautious with him now though.

The late race, the 4-55 at Sandown, was possibly a mistake – I didn’t rush at it by any means but the running was pretty atrocious and made me momentarily doubt my handicapping abilities (if not quite my sanity). Again, the Racing Post makes me feel better – it was indeed as bad as it looked, which is always a comfort.

It did set me to thinking though – not about the origins of the Universe or other minor matters, rather the technique of evaluating a race. One has to take an overview, before looking in detail at each runner, and assess the overall quality of the field and likely unfolding of the contest through pacemakers or lack of them. Eliminating poor races is a good defence against subsequent poor handicapping – a good quality race will have fewer ifs-and-buts to contend with and easier striking out of non-contenders.

It occured to me a couple of weeks ago that perhaps races unfold in a way which reflects the feel one gets whilst assessing the form – a messy, doubtladen contest will run in just that way, horses all over the place, nothing happening as predicted, no clear quality running. In short, a gamble.

Good betting races, on the other hand, do play out much as expected. In these instances, the winners take care of themselves and one feels comfortable with the bet whatever happens.

So, I feel I am correct in my methods and simply need to watch out for messy races. I will develop some means of judging a race’s quality before spending time on rating the runners.

This past week then has seen 5 bets; two ran well (2nd and 3rd at decent odds), a couple ran poorly (Stolen Moments was a good price though) and the last was something of a mistake to get involved with.

Cheltenham this coming week – I may start Tuesday and see how things stack up with the best jumps horses.

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